Proposed Ravenel development concerns community members, conservationist groups

Published: Sep. 14, 2021 at 3:44 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 14, 2021 at 7:44 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - A new development with hundreds of homes, plus additional commercial space, could be coming to the rural town of Ravenel, depending on the decisions in the coming months from the Planning and Zoning Commission and Town Council.

Marvin Smith has lived on Old Jacksonboro Road in Ravenel for decades.

“It’s a beautiful little city,” he said. “I love Ravenel.”

Smith said he’s concerned about the changes that could be coming to his peaceful street.

According to documents, McLeod Lumber—a company that owns about 3,000 acres across the street from Smith—has filed paperwork for the town to annex and rezone parcels of the property. Documents show the company hopes to create a development that would include up to 400 single-family homes and up to 16 acres of commercial space.

Smith said he’s not on board.

“No. We don’t need all that,” he said. “We need it just like we have it: peace and quiet.”

Jason Crowley with the Coastal Conservation League said this area is culturally and ecologically significant, with important wildlife and ties to the famous Stono Slave Rebellion.

He told us a major development on this land would lead to flooding, traffic, and a strain on schools, infrastructure and services.

“The issues we’ve seen in places like outer Mt Pleasant, West Ashley, Johns Island, up into the Berkeley County, Dorchester areas, of rampant suburban sprawl and growth and the negative impact on our rural quality of life is at risk of happening here,” Crowley said.

Crowley said annexing and rezoning the property could also open up the door for more developments in the future and more dense ones, too.

“It would bring the municipal boundary of Ravenel right up to the Poplar Grove development, and that developer originally tried in 2003 to develop a major development on that property and then again in 2013 tried to annex into Hollywood,” he said.

According to documents from McLeod Lumber, the company aims to limit the impacts on the environment, increase the community’s access to resources, provide housing for people of all incomes and improve quality of life with trails and parks.

Still, Smith said a development on his road would only cause problems.

“We’ve always wanted peace and quiet. So consider the people that have been here forever.”

We reached out multiple times to McLeod Lumber for comment but did not hear back. A notice from the town shows they’re having a public hearing on Thursday for people to share their thoughts about the town’s intent to approve the annexation and rezoning.

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